A Fall Getaway to the Loire Valley

The so-called “Garden of France” is arguably at its best in the fall when it is blanketed in hues of yellow, gold, and deep oranges. From aboard a boat to on a bike and even from a hot air balloon, there are many ways to take in the stunning autumn scenery. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s top recommendations for a fall getaway to the Loire Valley.

A Fall Getaway to the Loire Valley

Experience Fall in the Chinon Vineyards with a Picnic and Boat Cruise

a fall getaway to the loire valley chinon vineyards

When you arrive at the winery in Chinon you’ll be greeted by a stunning display of golden vines. This will be a wonderful day for you to get to know this wine-producing region of the Loire Valley, to discover the banks of the Vienne River with its fabulous, colorful views, to taste local products, and most importantly to meet with the passionate producers.

Start your visit to the wine estate with a carriage ride in the vineyards. Afterwards, you’ll sit down to enjoy a chef-prepared gastronomic picnic on the banks of the Vienne River. If the weather is too chilly, there’s an option to enjoy the picnic in a troglodytic cellar. The day will finish with a ride in a traditional Loire Valley gabare boat along the Vienne River. The perfect opportunity to capture the Loire Valley in all its fall glory!

Private Guided Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Châteaux

fall in the loire valley hot air balloon

What better way to discover the magnificent Loire Valley châteaux than with a hot air balloon ride over them? This experience is sure to be an unforgettable one, and a wonderful addition to a fall getaway in the Loire Valley. Your guide will lead the way from the moment you are picked up at your hotel and will be sure to transmit his passion for the region. Admire the absolutely breathtaking views of the châteaux and the splendid fall colors during the one-hour ride. A highlight is sure to be the aperitif from up above with great local products.

After the ride is concluded, your guide will take your for a visit to either the Château de Chenonceau or the Chateau d’Amboise.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
fall getaway in the loire valley relais de chambord

Relais de Chambord

Located in Chambord, a 4 minute walk from the château, this small and refined 4-star boutique hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and is situated in an unrivaled location. With captivating views around almost every turn, you will get to know each turret and spire of the castle’s famous rooftop skyline from your hotel.

The stylish rooms, full of natural light, are equipped with a high-end comfort combining velvet, wood, ceramics, and lamps. Every room is unique, and each one slightly different in a charming and individual way. Some rooms offer a view of the Château de Chambord, while others overlook the Cosson River, Place Saint-Louis, or the forest.

A buffet breakfast is served every morning. The restaurant prepares modern French cuisine. You can also have lunch at the bar, with its menu of snacks.

The hotel’s wellness area is open every day and has a hammam, sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, and tea room.

Visit the Château de Villandry, Château de L’Islette, and the Vouvray Wine Region

chateau de villandry fall

Enjoy a comprehensive day of discovering the best of the Loire Valley in just one day. You’ll have the opportunity to visit two fabulous châteaux and two Vouvray wine estates.

Start your day with the stunning Château de Villandry, a Renaissance jewel of a château with plenty of French heritage. During the tour, you will travel in time from the Renaissance to 18th-century France. One of the highlights of your day will surely be the exploration of Villandry’s gorgeous formal gardens. This beautiful and delicately-manicured landscape masterpiece will be especially decked out for the fall for a unique perspective.

Afterwards, you’ll be off to the private Château de L’Islette. As you drive up, you’ll be amazed by the sight unfolding in front of you. The French family that inherited this historical château still lives there today.

Finally, you will head to Vouvray to discover the beautiful wine area filled with passionate winegrowers. Vouvray is well-known for its sparkling and white wines. You’ll meet a genuine French winemaker in a charming family-run estate. During this visit, you will improve your knowledge of winemaking. And before saying au revoir, you will share an aperitif à la française made up of local products like cheese, rillettes, and fresh baguette, paired with local wine of course!

Discover the Loire Valley by Bike

loire valley fall

Before the biking begins, you’ll begin your day with a visit to one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period. The gardens are absolutely wonderful and not to be missed while in the region.

You’ll then bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village, where you’ll will stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside, complete with local delicacies and some wine. You’ll want to bring a camera along to capture the beautiful fall reflections on the Loire River.

Afterwards, ride to Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance castle. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre River is quite simply stunning, especially when the trees are yellow. At the end of the day, stop at a vineyard in Vouvray to visit a cellar and taste the region’s delicious local sparkling wine. It’ll be an excellent way to cap off a memorable fall day in the Loire Valley.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
les sources de cheverny

Les Sources de Cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, the striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm.

Soft light from tall, gothic windows creates a restful space. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby. The 26 rooms and 23 suites pair sumptuous fabrics with stripped wood panelling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building the beautiful lawns and gardens are waiting to be explored. The historic building offers rooms with a classic “château” feeling, whereas the cottages nearby offer a more modern decor.

As the sun starts to go down, it’s time for a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and take your pick of mouth-watering menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Days are made for relaxing by the pool, or indulging at the Caudalie Spa. Private coaching and yoga classes are available on request.

We hope these recommendations for a fall getaway to the Loire Valley help inspire a future trip. We would love to help you plan a dream vacation to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, and Normandy. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Best Exhibits to See this Fall in Paris

The permanent collections at Parisian museums are classics that are always worth seeing. Equally exciting are the wide range of temporary exhibits on display at any given time. French Side Travel has rounded up a list of the best exhibits to see this fall in Paris.

The Best Exhibits to See this Fall in Paris

Claude Monet – Joan Mitchell at Fondation Louis Vuitton

claude monet joan mitchell the best exhibits to see this fall in paris

“Claude Monet – Joan Mitchell” creates a never before examined conversation between the works of two exceptional artists, Claude Monet and American artist Joan Mitchell. Both influenced their peers as well as generations of artists to follow.

The exhibition opens with a “Joan Mitchell Retrospective,” enabling the public in France and Europe to discover her work. Impressed by Monet’s Water Lilies, which were extremely popular in the United States in the 1950s, Mitchell created canvases representing water sources. Like Monet, she used color and large-scale formats. She even drew inspiration from Vétheuil, where she lived in 1968. Mitchell’s house was just a few steps from where Monet lived from 1878 to 1881. This experience allowed both artists to see and paint the same scenes and light at a completely different period in time. From October 5th through February 27th.

Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli at Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli at Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Through January 22nd, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is presenting a major retrospective devoted to Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. In the 1920s and 1930s, Schiaparelli worked together with members of the international avant-garde in Paris including Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Man Ray.

The exhibition “Shocking! The Surreal Worlds of Elsa Schiaparelli” allows visitors to enter the creative world of this prominent figure in haute couture. Take in the dazzling array of costumes, accessories, jewelry, perfumes, drawings, paintings and sculptures. A series of costumes created by well-known designers inspired by Schiaparelli highlights her legacy.

Where to Stay in Paris
maison albar le pont neuf

Maison Albar Hotels Le Pont-Neuf

Located right in the heart of the beautiful city of Paris, and a stone’s throw away from the Louvre Museum and the Notre Dame, this 5-star hotel is set in an ideal location for sightseeing.

Designed with luxury in mind, the rooms come with AC, television, a hairdryer, minibar, a coffee making machine, a safe, a desk or workplace and soundproofing.

The hotel’s restaurant serves gourmet cuisine using local and seasonal produce. The wine cellar holds some of the finest wines in the world, which is sure to delight guests. The hotel also has an indoor pool, spa, hammam and treatment rooms.

Rosa Bonheur at Musée d’Orsay

rosa bonheur at musee d'orsay the best exhibits to see this fall in paris

On the occasion of the bicentenary of Rosa Bonheur’s birth in Bordeaux, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and the Musée d’Orsay are organizing a major retrospective of her work. This exhibition honors the extraordinary, innovative and inspiring artist. Rosa Bonheur, known as an icon of women’s emancipation, placed the living world at the heart of her work and her existence. She was passionate about animals and sought to express their vitality and their souls through her work. Bonheur was a highly technical artist with the ability to render both animal anatomy and psychology.

This exhibition brings together approximately 200 works, including paintings, graphic arts, sculptures, and photographs, from the most prestigious public and private collections in Europe and the United States. From October 18th through January 15th.

Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo at Musée Picasso

Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo at Musée Picasso

“Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo,” is an exhibit devoted to Picasso’s first daughter. The arrival of Maya was an upheaval in Picasso’s life, and a source of inspiration for his art. The exhibit explores the father-daughter relationship through a series of portraits of Maya painted by Picasso as well as sculptures, photographs, and other archival items. All of these elements together help to tell this personal part of Picasso’s family history. Through December 31st.

Les Choses: A History of Still Life at the Musée du Louvre

les choses louvre exhibit

“Les Choses” takes a new look at a subject that for a long time was considered minor: the still life. The representation of things, of which we find examples from prehistoric times, allows for a wonderful dive into history. These artists were, in fact, the first to take “things” seriously. They recognized the object’s presence and made them alive and interesting by praising their form, meaning, power, and charm.

The exhibition focuses on the genre of still life as well as the eternal dialogue between artists of the past and present. Thanks to our attachment to the works, the human relationship with material goods is also explored. From October 12th through January 23rd.

Women War Photographers at Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin

women war photographers exhibit

The Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin was inaugurated in 2019 on the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris. This new history museum aims to teach the public about a shared history: the Liberation of Paris and two historical figures from World War II, Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque and Jean Moulin. Women War Photographers showcases the work of eight female photographers who documented international conflicts over 75 years. Through December 31st, visitors can view documents, photographs and original newspapers and magazines that highlight the involvement of women in all conflicts – whether they are fighters, victims, or witnesses.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel elysia paris

Hotel Elysia

This 5-star hotel is located just a stone’s throw away from the most famous avenue in the world. Sitting inside a beautiful Haussmann building, the hotel was inspired by the elegance of the French Art de Vivre.

Guests can expect a romantic spirit at the hotel, but interpreted in a modern way. This hotel is a place for those who appreciate storytelling.

The 33 guest rooms and eight suites each feature paintings with emblematic scenes of Parisian romanticism. Think picturesque gardens, rooftops, and bridges.

The bar and restaurant pays subtle homage to the art of dance, ballet in particular. Here, you can indulge in refined French cuisine and some of the finest drinks in the capital.

The wellness area is currently undergoing a makeover. The fitness room, sauna, hammam and the Spa will reopen in Spring 2023.

Cézanne, the Lights of Provence at Atelier des Lumières

atelier des lumieres best exhibits to see this fall in paris

Through January 2nd, visitors can experience an immersive sound and light show into the creative universe and major works of Paul Cézanne at the Atelier des Lumières. This show offers insights into the painter’s tormented state of mind and the atmosphere of his studio in Aix-en-Provence. View Cézanne’s relationship with light and colors as well as the nature and the landscapes that inspired him – forests, parks and gardens, as well as Provençal landmarks such as the village of L’Estaque and the Montagne Sainte-Victoire.

We hope this list of the best exhibits to see this fall in Paris gives plenty of cultural inspiration in the French capital. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, and Normandy. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

Fall in France 2022: What to See and Do

Fall in France brings out some of the best of the country from the crisp weather and stunning fall colors to special seasonal foods and more. It truly is a wonderful time to visit and you can’t go wrong with almost any region. We’ve identified some of our top picks for what to see and do during fall in France in 2022.

Fall in France 2022: What to See and Do

Normandy: Authentic Cider and Cheese Tour

normandy cider cheese tour

Fall is a great time to discover Normandy with fewer crowds compared to the summertime. No trip to the region would be complete without at least a day spent tasting some of the gourmet regional specialties, namely ciders and cheeses.

The morning is dedicated to learning about Norman cheeses, in particular the famous Camembert de Normandie. Meet the last Camembert farmer in the village that gave it its name. You will taste the best products and see the cows and the production in detail. You will also discover the making of two other Normandy PDO cheeses: Pont l’Évêque and Livarot.

After stopping for a fabulous picnic lunch, you’ll be learning all about ciders: apple, pear, pommeau, and Calvados. You will see all the steps of the production in remarkable places. Learn about the traditional raw cider, the 50-year-aged Calvados, and more. This delicious day ends in one of the most beautiful villages in France with colorful half-timbered buildings and great shopping.

Where to Stay in Normandy
chateau d'audrieu

Château d’Audrieu

Gaiety and elegance are the two words that automatically spring to mind to describe this magnificent 5-star 18th-century château-hotel, a listed building set among exquisite French gardens and parkland.

Ever since becoming a hotel in 1976, Audrieu has been a fine example of good taste and the symbol of the French art of living. Period fireplaces and furniture give a personal touch to this ancestral home. Stay in one of its suites and rooms, some of them with original wainscoting, and enjoy a combination of luxury, space, and comfort.

Treat yourself to superb, innovative cuisine in the gastronomic restaurant. For your utmost pleasure, the hotel also features a design bar serving light dishes as well as salted or sweet “Croque en Bouches” to go with your drink, served inside or on the terrace.

Unwind in the hotel’s charming gardens or take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool. A charging station for electric cars is available at this property.

Paris: Colorful Modern Art Museums

fall in paris

While the trees in Paris are filled with beautiful colored leaves in the fall, rain can be common, especially further into the season. A great way to escape the rainy weather is with a museum visit. Classics like the Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are always wonderful options and are always ever-changing thanks to temporary exhibits. However, if you’ve had enough of the gray skies, consider the Centre Pompidou for colorful modern and contemporary art or the intimate and beautiful Musée Picasso in the heart of the Marais.

Burgundy: Fall Along The Wine Trails

fall in burgundy

For wine lovers, the Burgundy wine trails are a highlight no matter what time of year. The visits are especially spectacular drenched in the gorgeous fall colors. Our local wine expert guides will lead you through the renowned estates and surrounding scenery. A wonderful day can be spent exploring the Côte de Nuits vineyards.

The Côte de Nuits is known as the Champs-Élysées of Burgundy – the best of the best. For lovers of Pinot Noir, this is truly a paradise. While it is a small area, there are plenty of terroirs and an incredible variation of parcels and vines that make it renowned around the world. Along the Route des Grands Crus you will discover Morey-Saint-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, and Nuit Saint Georges. During this incredible day, you will taste 20 wines in total including 14 Premiers and Grands Crus – red and white wines and young and old vintages.

Loire Valley: A Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

loire valley hot air balloon

For a unique perspective of the majestic Loire Valley châteaux, we recommend taking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Imagine floating above on a misty fall morning with gorgeous golden light touching the vineyards, forest, rivers, and châteaux below. The region is especially stunning with fall coloring. This fabulous experience ends with breakfast and you’ll have the rest of the day to continue exploring!

Bordeaux: Market Visit, Cooking Class, and Lunch

fall market foods france

Southwest France is a region known for fabulous fall foods including foie gras, truffles, and walnuts. During a private market visit, cooking class, and lunch in Bordeaux, you’ll have the opportunity to learn even more about and taste these delicious fall specialties. A chef will lead you on this experience that is both gourmet and a unique look into life in France.

Provence: Visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a Local Wine Expert

chateauneuf de pape

During the fall, you can take in the mesmerizing beauty of the historic Châteauneuf-du-Pape village and vineyards dressed in a layer of gold. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is famous for powerful, full-bodied red wines, made from the southern Rhône grape trio of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Besides the golden leaves, you’ll find distinct lightly colored stones amongst the vines: a spectacular fall combination. Throughout the day your local wine expert guide will take you to meet with three winemakers. You’ll stop for lunch in a charming Provençal restaurant. Afterward, you will get the chance to make local confectioneries in copper cauldrons!

Where to Stay in Provence
hotel villa gallici

Villa Gallici

This intimate 5-star hotel in Aix-en-Provence is just a few minutes walk to the historic center. The elegant design is evocative of a bygone era with antique furniture, ornate woodwork, and fine textiles.

Rooms and suites are large, feature modern amenities, and offer a view over the garden. Some include a terrace.

Guests enjoy access to a spa and wellness area, a large garden, and an outdoor heated pool.

There is a gourmet restaurant onsite that combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.

Ready to experience fall in France? There’s still time to make it this year! Our travel designers are standing by and can help you book any of these activities and create the perfect fall itinerary in France. Some of our most popular fall destinations include Normandy, Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Southern France.

What To See During The European Heritage Days 2022

Each September during the European Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine) visitors and residents alike have the unique opportunity to discover museums, monuments, and private spaces that are otherwise closed to the public. These days provide a fantastic look into some of France’s most spectacular sites. This year, the Journées du Patrimoine are September 17th and 18th. We’re sharing some of our top picks for what to see during the 2022 European Heritage Days in France.

What To See During European Heritage Days 2022

heritage days 2022
Assemblée Nationale in Paris

The French Ministry of Culture created the Journées du Patrimoine in 1984. They take place on the third weekend of September and see approximately 12 million visitors annually. One of the purposes of the Journées du Patrimoine is to highlight the unique stories, histories, and collections of the 17,000 participating sites. These places include embassies, theaters, hospitals, schools, castles, factories and more.

Because of their popularity, the European Heritage Days can involve some time spent queuing in line. Since the pandemic, there has been a shift towards using a reservation system. While not every place has adopted this system yet, more and more places are starting to.

The 2022 European Heritage Days theme is Sustainable Heritage in light of the context of climate change. You can browse an interactive map of participating sites here.

Paris and Île-de-France

european heritage days 2022

You’ll find options galore during the Journées du Patrimoine in Paris and the Île de France region. Some perennially popular places to visit include the Elysée Palace, Hôtel Matignon, the French Senate, and the Institut de France. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to explore places like the National Assembly, the greenhouses in the Luxembourg Gardens, and the Oratoire du Louvre.

This is also a fantastic time to visit some of the castles in the Île de France region surrounding Paris. You can visit rooms normally closed to the public at Château de Champs-sur-Marne, the dungeon at the Château de Vincennes, and the family-owned Château de Saint-Jean de Beauregard.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel le roch paris

Hotel Le Roch

With unmistakable, chic Parisian ambiance where visitors can discover charming hospitality, this 5-star in central Paris exudes luxury and opulence.

With a privileged location right in the center of the city, it is only a few minutes walk from all the iconic locations of Paris. The finely decorated elegant rooms offer AC, Bluetooth speaker, flat-screen TV, Tea and Coffee facilities, Codage toiletries and large walk-in showers.

The hotel offers a beautiful swimming pool and a spa at the visitors disposal, where one can enjoy a blissful moment of tranquility after a long day exploring. There is also a mirror-lined fitness center and a hot Hammam. An on-site restaurant serves wonderful culinary creations using seasonal products, and a bar offering original cocktails, prestigious spirits and wonderful champagnes.


chateau de champ de bataille
Photo: Eric Sander

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the 2022 European Heritage Days in Normandy. Visit La Poterie du Mesnil de Bavent to discover the finials and other ceramic decorations that adorn the villas on the coast. La Poterie du Mesnil de Bavent has been a specialist since 1842. Along with discovering the company’s savoir-faire, you’ll have the opportunity to visit and experience a craftsman village along with a market with both designers and second-hand dealers.

At famed French interior designer Jacques Garcia’s Domaine du Champ de Bataille there will be a special evening program. Visit the fabulous apartments, tour the exceptionally open Moghol Palace, and visit the French gardens illuminated by candlelight.

In Villedieu-les-Poêles, a town known for its copper production, you can visit the Cornille-Havard bell foundry. This is the foundry that produced the bells for the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Loire Valley

loire valley chateau

In the Loire Valley, the Château de Chenonceau has created a special visit that will especially delight visitors aged 7 to 12 years-old. It will be a fun and interactive way for families to discover the Renaissance castle.

At Château de Villandry you can tour the famous French gardens in a horse-drawn carriage. Experience a special guided tour filled with historical anecdotes. Master craftsmen will also be on site to enhance a visit to the château.

Bordeaux and Southwest France

european heritage days 2022

Unique offerings in Bordeaux include tours of forgotten theaters, an ironmaking workshop and demonstration, and a variety of cultural walks. A not to be missed visit is to the Hôtel de Basquiat, a historic building dating from the 18th century. It was built for Joseph Basquiat de Mugriet, adviser to the parliament of Bordeaux. This exceptional residence was completed in 1781 after three years of construction, supervised by the architect François Lhôte.

In Saint-Émilion, visit the largest monolithic church in Europe. Carved out at the beginning of the 12th century, the monolithic church is underground and only visible thanks to its bell tower that reaches 68 meters high. The building is hidden from the eyes of the visitors behind a gothic portal that only the guide can open. A must-see for the European Heritage Days!

In Sarlat, many places that are normally closed to the public will be open including the Lanterns of the Dead and private mansions. Don’t miss Saturday night’s “Heritage Under the Stars” in Sarlat to discover the city’s alleys illuminated by candles.

Where to Stay in Marseille
InterContinental Marseille Hotel-Dieu

InterContinental Marseille Hotel-Dieu

This 5-star hotel overlooking the Vieux Port is a Marseille institution. The property was built as a hospital in the 19th-century, and was renovated and converted into a hotel in 2013. The site is much older than that though. There is a 1st-century Roman mosaic on the ground floor and the ruins of the 12-century chapel in the garden.

Enjoy large, comfortable rooms or suites with modern amenities. Some rooms have views on the harbor and/or private terraces.

You’ll want to eat on site. Chef Lionel Levy’s Alcyone, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, earned a Michelin star in 2014. The cuisine is Mediterranean favorites revisited. It combines the best of Mediterranean seafood and local produce from surrounding Provence. Alternatively, Chef Levy also proposes the Les Fenêtres brasserie for a more laid-back dining experience also steeped in Mediterranean tradition.

When booking with French Side Travel, enjoy the following privileges: Guaranteed 2:00pm late check-out, $100 USD value-added amenity (hotel credit), upgrade to next room category (subject to availability on arrival), complimentary Wi-Fi (unlimited devices), Bottled water and fresh fruit/snacks in room upon arrival and turn down service

Provence and the French Riviera

european heritage days 2022 marseille

The Provence region is filled with activities for the European Heritage Days. In Marseille you can exceptionally visit the Fort d’Entrecasteaux, which has been closed to the public since it was built in 1660.

In Nice, to celebrate the ambitious restoration project of La Citadelle, visitors are invited to come and discover the site and the “behind the scenes” of the restorations. Throughout the weekend, meetings with specialized craftsmen and Museums and Cultural Affairs teams will be held.

Lastly, in Roquemaure, participate in a 19th century costumed historical stroll followed by an apéro accompanied by the “Chanteurs des Côtes du Rhône.”

The possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to celebrating the 2022 European Heritage Days in France. Each region puts its cultural gems front and center so that participants can have a deeper understanding of French heritage and culture. French Side Travel offers a whole host of itineraries focused around history and culture including the Provence and French Riviera Discovery Tour, the Highlights of Normandy by Train, and a Classic Tour of the City of Light.

The 2022 Grape Harvest in France

It’s an exciting time of year for grape growers and wine lovers alike as the vendanges, the period of grape harvesting, has officially begun. Each year is slightly different depending on the region, mother nature, and the grapes themselves. Typically the vendanges begin in late August and can last through October. Read on to learn more about the process, how to take part, and how to celebrate the 2022 grape harvest in France.

The 2022 Grape Harvest in France

When is the Harvest in France this Year?

2021 grape harvest in france

Each prefecture must lift the ban on grape harvesting (lever le ban des vendanges) before picking begins. This date is typically about 100 days after the vine flowers. Ultimately, the harvesting date depends on the grapes. Wine growers monitor levels of sugar and acidity as well as the amount of tannins, especially for red wines.

Vendanges typically begin in late August in southern parts of France like Corsica and Provence and can last through October. Severe frosts make the date later and heatwaves make it earlier. In 2022, thanks to a hot and dry climate, the vendanges are about two weeks earlier than they were in 2021. Harvesting typically lasts for about 15 days, depending on the size of the vineyard.

The Champagne harvest period began on August 22nd. Bordeaux entered the harvest period on August 16th with crémant, which makes up 1% of their production. Next, they’ll start harvesting grapes for white wines. The first grapes for red wines will follow likely in mid-September. At the end of September the bulk of grapes for red wines will be harvested. In Burgundy, the harvest period is beginning this week.

Where to Stay During the Grape Harvests in Burgundy
hotel le montrachet

Hôtel Le Montrachet

An elegant 4-star hotel nestled in the wine-producing village of Puligny-Montrachet in Burgundy, this 19th-century limestone building is set around a pedestrian square. The picturesque settings give the hotel a serene ambiance.

The completely renovated rooms are named after the famous Burgundy wines. A Bourgeois house just a few steps away from the hotel, with a beautiful façade and large garden, is open for travelers to relax in.

Indulge in the fine gourmet cuisine in the in-house restaurant. The delicious and colorful meals are a treat to the palate. The hotel’s Chardonnay wine bar offers 16 well-kept wines for you to discover the Burgundy wines at your leisure. You can even explore their cellar and buy the wines of your choice.

How Grapes are Harvested in France

2021 grape harvest in france vendanges

Grapes are largely harvested by hand. Some regions like Champagne even require it. This means bringing in some extra help – about 300,000 people in order to cover the approximately 750,000 hectares (1.9 million acres) of vineyards in France. It’s a seasonal job open to anyone older than 16 and is popular among students.

In some cases, machines harvest the grapes. Machines increase productivity and can harvest about 200 times more grapes per day than a person. They also run day and night, no matter the weather conditions. However, machines are less accurate and can sometimes damage the delicate grapes. Machines also require sorting to remove any grapes with undesirable qualities.

Participating in French Grape Harvests

participating in french grape harvests

Visiting the cellars during the vendanges can be complicated. Many wineries close for tours. For a unique experience, we recommend attending a grape picking festival. Fête de la Pressée or a Grape Pressing Party is an annual wine event in the town of Chanôve, Burgundy, near Dijon. This festival is a celebration of medieval wine-making traditions, particularly grape pressing. Participants have the opportunity to taste the first-hand pressing or the bourrou. Participants can enjoy events around the history and savoir-faire of winemaking.

Celebrating the Grape Harvest in France

vendanges 2022 in france

There are many different harvest festivals throughout France. One of the first is the Festivini Festival of Food and Wine in the Loire Valley. Perhaps the most well-known is the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival in Paris. More than 40 bars and restaurants take part in the four day event which includes activities like concerts, entertainment, tastings of regional and local products, dances, walks, special exhibits and more.

Where to Stay During the Grape Harvest in Champagne
chateau de sacy

Château de Sacy

Experience a beautiful stay in a spacious, luxurious and comfortable Château, opening onto the vineyards on all sides. Elegance and modernity are combined in an atmosphere conducive to both relaxation and fun.

You’ll have a pleasurable stay in the elegant and modern rooms surrounded by beautiful vineyards with a splendid view of the mountains of Reims. Dining in the authentic restaurant with a delicate cuisine and 360 degree view of the vineyards will be a lovely memory and a unique experience.

The spa offers exceptional services, and quality and excellence are the spa’s motto. Discover your inner-self with yoga and fitness classes in the middle of the vines, surrounded by a scenic image of Reims.

For those who love sports and culture, there are numerous activities in the area including golf, opera, and more. Visit and be one with the nature.

Whether you can experience the 2022 grape harvest in France in person or not, it’s an exciting time for wine lovers. The French wine regions are diverse and worth exploring whenever you have the chance. Some of our favorite tours include A Road trip through Bordeaux and Dordogne’s Nature and Wine Country, The Best of Beaujolais, Burgundy, and Champagne Vineyards, and A Luxury Escape to Burgundy’s Vineyards. French Side Travel has something for everyone whether you’re interested in food and wine, history and culture, adventure, or romance and scenery.

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The Seven Best Restaurants with a View of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

When in Paris, dining with a view of the Eiffel Tower is a popular request, and for good reason. However, not all restaurants facing the Iron Lady serve delicious food. We’ve rounded up the seven best restaurants with a view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Seven Best Restaurants with a View of the Eiffel Tower in Paris


girafe seven best restaurants with a view of the eiffel tower in paris

Located on Place du Trocadero and facing the Eiffel Tower, Girafe offers arguably the best view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The restaurant specializes in seafood, although there is a little bit of everything on the menu. Advance reservations are required at Girafe. It is worth noting that in case of inclement weather the terrace closes. The interior of the restaurant is lovely, however there isn’t a view of the Eiffel Tower. Girafe, 1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris.

Monsieur Bleu

monsieur bleu paris

Within the Palais de Tokyo museum, Monsieur Bleu is a sophisticated restaurant with stunning views to match. The menu is devoted to French classics, with a focus on seasonality and fresh ingredients. In the summertime, the Jardin de Monsieur Bleu is the place to be. There is a lively atmosphere with specialty cocktails and DJ sets on certain nights. On Sundays, the restaurant serves brunch. Everything is homemade and comes with a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower! Monsieur Bleu, 20 Avenue de New York, 75116 Paris.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel napoleon

Hôtel Napoléon

Just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, this luxury hotel offers all the splendor of a large and very Parisian private house. Its romantic decor recounts one of the most beautiful pages in the history of France, that of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. With its cozy rooms, beautiful suites or large adjoining rooms, the property is ideal for couples, families and for lovers of Paris.

As one generation has given way to the next, the hotel has stood the test of time and developed an outstanding ability to welcome its guests. The intimate atmosphere, which at different times has attracted guests ranging from Jean Gabin to Josephine Baker and Errol Flynn, has made it a legendary place to stay that is just as charming and popular today.

From breakfast in the morning, to gourmet lunch then after-dinner drinks in the evening, not to mention a morning or afternoon tea perhaps tasting a few inventive and trendy recipes, the restaurant is there to satisfy its guests’ every desire.


loulou paris

For a secret garden experience with a truly magical view of the Eiffel Tower, try LouLou. The location couldn’t be better. It is set within the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Musée du Louvre as well as the Jardin des Tuileries. On sunny days, guests can enjoy the spirit of the French Riviera in the heart of Paris. The Italian and Mediterranean-inspired menu can be a welcome change from traditional French dishes, especially during the warmer months. LouLou, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris.

Ciel de Paris

ciel de paris best restaurants with a view of the eiffel tower in paris

When looking for a view of Paris from above that includes the Eiffel Tower, Ciel de Paris inside the Tour Montparnasse is a great option. The Tour Montparnasse is the tallest building in Paris. From 210 meters above ground the views of Paris and beyond are truly exceptional. Ciel de Paris serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is also a bar, making it a fabulous option no matter the time of day. Ciel de Paris, Tour Maine Montparnasse, 56ème, Av. du Maine, 75015 Paris.


gigi paris

Just above the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in the prestigious Golden Triangle area of Paris is Gigi, a stylish and chic Italian restaurant. The unique view of the Eiffel Tower can be enjoyed from both inside the restaurant and outside on the terrace, making it a great year-round option for the unpredictable weather in Paris. Don’t miss having a drink at the fabulous Bellini Bar which features live musicians, jazz mixes, and popular songs from the 1950s and 1960s that add to the lively atmosphere. Gigi, 15 Av. Montaigne, 75008 Paris.

Le Tout-Paris

le tout-paris

Le Tout-Paris brings together the best of an Art Deco style Parisian bistro with a cocktail bar, and opens up to 180 degree panoramic views over Notre Dame, the Seine River, and the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant is a part of the recently opened Cheval Blanc Paris hotel. Hotel guests can enjoy their breakfast at Le Tout-Paris. Otherwise, the restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and for their Sunday Dimanche à la Folie brunch. Le Tout-Paris, 8 Quai du Louvre, 75001 Paris.

Where to Stay in Paris
monsieur george paris

Monsieur George Hotel & Spa

This 5-star boutique hotel is located on the street named in honor of the first President of the United States.

Each floor has its own ambience and decor with adjoining rooms available for families. Perched above them all, practically in the clouds, are suites with views capturing all of Paris with merely a glance. Closer to earth is the garden suite, a lush duplex sanctuary.

Offering a comfortable environment and lifestyle, the restaurant and bar invites its guests to enjoy special moments in Paris with refreshing breakfasts, lunches, snacks, aperitifs, dinners and night-caps. The menus combine freshness, creativity, and tradition. You can choose either the five-course menu or the seven-course menu according to your wishes.

In the basement, there is a spa and a famous yoga club hailed as the ultimate benchmark for health and well-being which offers custom services including special yoga courses, provided in the rooms, fitness and massage sessions, and a wide variety of aesthetic services.

Ducasse sur Seine

ducasse sur seine

One of the most romantic restaurants with a view of the Eiffel Tower is surely the Ducasse sur Seine. The views of the Eiffel Tower begin the second you step aboard the boat docked just in front of the Eiffel Tower. During the truly magical cruise, guests have the opportunity to marvel at the Iron Lady from a different perspective along the Seine River. All of the food on the Ducasse sur Seine is delivered daily and prepared freshly on board, ensuring a fabulous gastronomic experience to match the scenery. Ducasse sur Seine, 19 Port Debilly, 75116 Paris.

Ready for a trip to Paris? Our travel designers are standing by and can help incorporate any of the seven best restaurants with a view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris into your itinerary. Some of our most popular Paris tours include An Exclusive and Unique Tour of Paris, A Culinary Experience in Paris, and The Best of Paris in a Week.

A Weekend Getaway to Provence

Provence is a favorite French destination for numerous reasons including its mild climate, picturesque villages and unique foods and wines. Thanks to high speed trains from Paris, it’s possible to add on a weekend getaway to Provence to virtually any trip.

A Weekend Getaway to Provence

How to Get to Provence

a weekend getaway to provence

The easiest way to reach Provence from Paris is by high speed train. In approximately three hours you can reach Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, or Marseille from central Paris. Trains also depart directly from the Charles de Gaulle airport making it easy to begin your trip in Provence. The Marseille airport serves the region and is just about 20 minutes from Aix-en-Provence.

Day One: Private Tour of the Most Charming Villages in Provence


Begin your weekend getaway to Provence with an overview of some most charming villages in the region. Start the day with Lourmarin, one of the most beautiful villages of the Luberon. Friday is an especially good day to visit as it is market day. You will have free time to explore the village and see the Renaissance château, visit the galleries and artisanal shops, and stop for a visit and wine tasting in the vineyards.

You can have lunch in Lourmarin or another village like Lauris, Ménerbes, or Goult. After a delicious Provençal meal, your private driver will take you along the Combe, a winding road to discover the perched villages of Bonnieux, Lacoste, Ménerbes, Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon and Gordes. Depending on the day and your unique interests, the guide will be able to recommend the best places to stop.

Where to Stay in Provence
la bastide de gordes

La Bastide de Gordes

This 5-star luxury hotel and spa is not to be missed in lovely Gordes. The perched village is one of Provence’s most beautiful, complete with 12th-century ramparts, a château, and expansive views over the valley below. The Palace hotel itself was a former mansion and it retains every ounce of its former charm: stonework, molding, exposed wood, and vaulted ceilings all surrounded by centuries-old olive trees and soaring cypresses.

The refined rooms are fully equipped, and most offer a view on the valley and the mountains.

The chic Sisley spa has an indoor swimming pool, a hammam, and a fitness facility. The establishment boasts multiple onsite dining options and a bar.

Day Two: Aix-en-Provence and the Provençal Coast


On day two, discover Aix-en-Provence and coastal destinations Marseille and Cassis. Explore Aix-en-Provence, the city of Paul Cézanne, with a stroll along Cours Mirabeau. Beautiful fountains, lovely architecture, lively cafés, and old churches surround this picturesque Provençal avenue. The market held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays is not to be missed.

Afterwards, head to Cassis, a famous fishing village known for its sublime calanques. If you’d like, take a boat ride to explore the forgotten coves, tiny ports, and soaring cliffs of the Calanques National Park. You can also stop for a wine tasting in the vineyards and taste Cassis’ delicate rosé and smooth white wines.

The afternoon will be devoted to Marseille. You’ll see highlights including the Cité Radieuse (Le Corbusier’s building, which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the statue of David on the Avenue du Prado, the Corniche, and Vallon des Auffes. A memorable stop will be at the Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde where you will enjoy enjoy a panoramic view of the city and its maritime area: the Vieux Port, Frioul Archipelago, and Château d’If.

Where to Stay in Provence
a weekend getaway to provence

Hôtel Villa La Coste

Situated halfway between the historic town of Aix-en-Provence and the famous Luberon Nature Park, this 5-star Palace hotel is set in the heart of the Provençal countryside. It is an international destination for art, architecture and natural beauty and contains a biodynamic vineyard.

The property features 28 Villa Suites. Gardens surround the suites, each with spacious terraces offering truly amazing, expansive views over the vines and the Luberon. The Villas are decorated with artwork from both the owner’s friends and private collection, which gives a personal touch and the feeling of being in a cozy home. Local materials enhance the hotel’s contemporary architecture which complements the natural setting.

The close-to-nature philosophy is evident in each of the four restaurants, all of which feature organic produce.

The spa’s clean lines, natural stones and light wood convey contemporary elegance and keep with the spirit of the property. All natural treatments feature regional ingredients: oils from Provençal plants and flowers, mineral salts, and clays.

When booking through French Side Travel, guests will enjoy a complimentary guided Art and Architecture walking tour and wine tasting.

A weekend getaway to Provence is the perfect opportunity to discover gorgeous southern France. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.

A Weekend Getaway to Burgundy

Renowned for fabulous wines, gastronomic specialties, and UNESCO World Heritage listed sites, Burgundy is truly a must-see part of France. A weekend getaway to Burgundy is the perfect amount of time take in the fine wines, gourmet foods, stunning landscapes and rich cultural experiences.

A Weekend Getaway to Burgundy

How to Get to Burgundy

a weekend getaway to burgundy

From Paris, Burgundy can easily reached by either car or train. The high speed TGV train from Paris to Dijon takes just over 90 minutes. For a leisurely drive, it’s possible to reach Beaune from Paris in a little over three hours. Getting from Dijon to Lyon is equally as convenient by TGV train or car – both take under two hours.

Day One: Private Cooking Class and Custom Wine Tasting

burgundy cooking class

Begin your weekend getaway in Burgundy in gourmet style. Enjoy a market visit, cooking class, and a gourmet lunch followed by a custom wine tasting.

In the morning, you’ll head to the cooking school in Beaune for a full day of exploring, cooking, and tasting. This class is designed to introduce you to the delightful gastronomic culture of the region. Highlights include a morning market tour, a two-hour hands-on cooking class, a Champagne apéritif followed by a seven-course menu including a local cheese course, and a Burgundian wine pairing hand-selected from a wine shop.

The menu changes constantly depending on the season. It is always full of new surprises from favorite artisan food producers and from cooking school’s own potager. Participate and learn as the chefs explain and demonstrate the classic French culinary techniques used in each recipe, from sautéing to searing to sauce-making. Afterwards, head up to the airy third-floor dining room for a leisurely lunch. Gather around a zinc-topped table for a convivial lunch in simple French fashion, next to a wall of windows overlooking the atrium below. Candles will be lit and Champagne flutes will be filled.

After lunch, enjoy a one hour custom wine tasting. Your wine expert will enlighten immerse you into the world of Burgundy wines. Select six sought-after cuvées and learn how to assess the qualities of outstanding wine. During this private session you’ll discover your wine profile, the most remarkable terroirs of Burgundy, biodynamic winemaking techniques, as well as how to connect with your senses. It’s the perfect introduction into the world of Burgundy wines!

Where to Stay in Burgundy
hotel le cep beaune

Hôtel Le Cep

This 5-star hotel is an institution in Beaune. It’s ideally situated in the heart of medieval Beaune, just minutes away from the famous Hospices de Beaune. The hotel owes its charm to the merging of two private mansions and their historical 16th century courtyards.

The rooms are all decorated with antiques collected throughout the years and each room is named after a Burgundian village or Grand Cru wine. The choice of the different fabrics, antique furnishings and refined décor make for a warm atmosphere.

The restaurant proposes a cuisine influenced by the region. There are traditional dishes from Burgundy that are revisited by the Chef. The setting is cozy and refined with a contemporary decor.

At the end of the day, guests can relax in the bar. In the winter, enjoy the comfortable atmosphere whilst sipping a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. In the summer, relax in the sun bathed 14th century courtyard.

The hotel’s luxurious spa offers a wide range of treatments and massages.

Day Two: Discover the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits Wines

cote de nuits et cote de beaune

Spend day two on the weekend getaway to Burgundy discovering two remarkable styles of wines: Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. 27 appellations, 36 communes and over 1,200 climats make up the incredible landscape. Over centuries, winegrowers have worked extensively to refine the terroir.

In this exceptional full-day tour, learn about the concept of terroir, invented over 2,000 years ago in Burgundy. You’ll discover the influence of geology on Burgundy wines, the diversity of terroirs of the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits through their geological complexities and a precise study of the landscape, the work of the winemakers, how Burgundy wines are classified, the ever important concept of climate and more.

Your expert local guide is an expert in Burgundy wines (and completely bilingual). The day includes three private visits where you will taste both white and red wines and young and old vintages – 20 wines in total including 12 Premiers Crus and Grands Crus and a minimum of eight Clos. This is a unique moment to discover the true diamonds of the Burgundy terroir: Clos de Tart, Clos de la Roche, and Clos des Lambrays.

Where to Stay in Burgundy
hotel la borde burgundy

La Borde

Some twenty kilometers from Auxerre in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, this 5-star hotel is an estate made up of an authentic 14th-century stately residence and seven hectares of wooded grounds.

The six rooms hold French names for various flowers, from aubépine to tulipe, and sit regally beneath timbered ceilings. Some rooms have fireplaces, while all come with Jacuzzi tubs.

Enjoy a memorable dinner made with local products at the hotel’s restaurant. Many of the dishes come from vegetables grown in the hotel’s vast garden, where guests can also time wandering through.

Guest can truly enjoy the passing of time here: between the bucolic walks, the heated outdoor pool, the spa and the fitness center.

A weekend getaway to Burgundy is a perfect escape to the French countryside, especially for food and wine lovers. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.

A Weekend Getaway to the French Riviera

A weekend getaway to the French Riviera is a lovely addition to any vacation. The stunning turquoise waters along the Côte d’Azur glitter and dazzle year long. It’s the perfect destination to enjoy a combination of relaxing and sightseeing. Take in the magnificent surroundings including fabulous architecture, picturesque beaches, remarkable gardens and more.

A Weekend Getaway to the French Riviera

How to Get to the French Riviera

a weekend getaway to the french riviera

Reaching the French Riviera is simple. Many major cities offer direct flights into Nice. If you are flying into or connecting through Paris, the flight to Nice is just under 90 minutes. From other parts of France, it is possible to reach Nice and the French Riviera by train. From Paris, the high speed TGV train takes about six hours. For a weekend getaway, staying in or around Nice is a very central option.

Day One: Discover Monaco and the Côte d’Azur with a Full Day Luxury Charter

a weekend getaway to the french riviera mala beach

There’s no better way to begin your weekend getaway to the French Riviera than with a day on the water. The luxurious boat will have everything you need including a cabin, bedroom, bathroom, refrigerator, music equipment and drinks.

You’ll board in Cannes and then head towards Monaco, which takes approximately 90 minutes. Disembark and head into the legendary Monte-Carlo for some shopping and to see the highlights of the city. For lunch, stop at a restaurant in the famous Port Hercule to enjoy the views of the impressive yachts.

After lunch, you’ll reembark and go to Mala Bay for a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters. You’ll find plenty of snorkeling equipment stocked on board. Following your swim, you’ll cruise at a leisurely pace towards Villefranche-sur-Mer. Enjoy the beautiful view over the port and the colorful village. The day will end as the sun goes down. You’ll take in the spectacular view of the sunset over Cannes before disembarking.

Where to Stay in the French Riviera
le negresco hotel nice

Le Negresco

This famous 5-star property has overlooked one of the French Riviera’s most beautiful bays for a century. Unique and timeless, it is one of the most elegant hotels in Europe. Facing the Mediterranean Sea on the famous Promenade des Anglais, the hotel has a perfect location.

The hotel has attracted the “who’s who” of international clientele including Salvador Dalí, Grace Kelly, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and Elton John. Staying at this hotel is truly stepping into French history and culture.

The perfect combination of historic and contemporary is the property’s trademark. Each one of the 128 rooms and 26 suites draws inspiration from the most remarkable French art periods. From Louis XIII style to modern art, five centuries of history are represented. Every room and suite is equipped with a television and wifi.

Have your breakfast under the copolla designed by Gustave Eiffel. Lunch can be in the Rotonde, the restaurant surrounded by white horses. Have dinner at the Chantecler, the Michelin-starred restaurant. And in-between, why not having a drink at the warm and welcoming bar.

When booking an exclusive suite, enjoy a private guided visit of the hotel.

Day Two: Private French Riviera Architectural Tour with a Licensed Guide

villa ephrussi de rothschild

Allow your expert guide to transport you through time as you enjoy a full-day tour of architecture, art and culture. From the middle of the 19th century until World War II, the French Riviera was the pinnacle of elegance in terms of architecture and lifestyle. The various styles of architecture include Victorian, Belle Époque, Roaring Twenties, Art Nouveau, and Modernism. There is truly something for everyone.

This storied and legendary version of the Riviera still exists, although it is hidden away and well-preserved. Highlights of the day include seeing the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, the Cap d’Ail and Cap-Martin Seaside Trail, Villa Kerylos and Villa E-1027.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, also known as Villa Île-de-France, is one of the most beautiful Renaissance-style palaces on the Côte d’Azur. Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild built it on a summit of the Cap Ferrat peninsula between 1905 and 1912. Villa Kerylos, an original reconstruction of an ancient Greek residence, was imagined by Theodore Reinach, who was fascinated by Greek civilization. A true icon of modern architecture, Villa E-1027, Eileen Gray’s first architectural creation, is a testament to her careful thought in the design of every detail. Tour these villas and more as you soak up the unimaginable beauty of the Côte d’Azur.

Where to Stay in the French Riviera
hotel lily of the valley

Hôtel Lily of the Valley

Set on the Mediterranean coastline in La Croix Valmer, this 5-star hotel welcomes guests to a year-round wellness sanctuary. The stunning property is a short 20 minutes from Saint-Tropez and features breathtaking views of the sea. From its position atop a hill surrounded by protected nature reserves, guests are only a few steps away from the sandy, five-kilometer Gigaro Beach.

The guest rooms and suites were designed by renowned architect Phillipe Starck. All buildings blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings, and no building is taller than the trees.

For a culinary delight, guests can choose from two restaurants: one located in the health-focused Wellness Village haven which specializes in a plant-based menu. There is also fabulous French fare in the other restaurant, which has a star sommelier to encourage decadence.

At the heart of the hotel is the 2,000-square-meter wellness center complete with seven cabins, two steam rooms, a snow-shower, sauna and 25-meter swimming pool. The wellness offerings range from detox programs to energy treatments and immersive sport and yoga retreats.

A weekend getaway to the French Riviera is always a good idea, any time of year, but especially in the warmer, less-crowded months. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.

A Weekend Getaway to the Loire Valley

The lush Loire Valley is known as the “Garden of France.” The region is filled with seemingly endless châteaux. This is no surprise as the area was a retreat for French royalty in the 15th and 16th centuries. With a prime location just a couple of hours from Paris it’s easy to enjoy a weekend getaway to the Loire Valley.

A Weekend Getaway to the Loire Valley

How to Get to the Loire Valley

a weekend getaway to the loire valley

The Loire Valley is easily accessible from Paris, making it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway. A train ride from central Paris to Tours is just over an hour long. By car, the drive is about two and a half hours from Paris. Relax and let a private driver take you and enjoy the scenery on the way. Having access to a private driver or car while in the Loire Valley is also beneficial, as the various châteaux, gardens, and wineries are a bit spread out.

Begin the weekend with a special vineyard tour, wine tasting, and candlelit dinner inside a troglodyte cave. Set alongside the banks of the Vienne River, you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the fascinating views. You’ll meet a team of passionate wine producers and enjoy a tasting with local products. Then, sit down and enjoy a gourmet candlelit meal prepared by a gastronomic chef inside a troglodyte cave.

Day One: Private Guided Visit to Three Fabulous Châteaux with a Wine Tasting

château de chenonceau

Your private driver and licensed guide will pick you up from your hotel for a wonderful day of châteaux, stunning gardens, and wine tastings.

Begin your day at Château de Chenonceau, the prestigious castle surrounded by water. Known as the “Château des Dames,” it was mainly women who decided the château’s destiny and history. Built by Kathrine Briçonnet in 1513, it was later enriched and transformed by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, to name but a few. Revisit the period between the Renaissance and the 17th century on your promenade through the royal domain. You’ll cover it all from the ancient keep and the remains of the medieval fortified mill to Diane de Poitiers’ Renaissance gardens.

Lunch will be in the picturesque medieval town of Amboise before a walk around the Royal Château d’Amboise. The château is an architectural wonder that transitions from Gothic to Renaissance styles and was the residence of Charles VIII and Francois I. See Saint Hubert Chapel, the final resting place of the great Leonardo da Vinci and Château du Clos Lucé, da Vinci’s last residence.

In the afternoon, visit the Château de Villandry. The very extensive gardens are sure to be a highlight of the visit. Although the château is best known for its French formal garden, you’ll also see the vegetable garden, the ornamental garden, the water garden, the “Jardin du Soleil” and the herb garden.

The day will finish with a relaxing stop at a vineyard to sample a few delightful local wines. 

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
relais de chambord hotel

Relais de Chambord

Just a four minute walk from the Château de Chambord, this small and refined 4-star boutique hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte. It is set in a truly unrivaled location. With captivating views around almost every turn, you will get to know each turret and spire of the castle’s famous rooftop skyline from your hotel.

The stylish rooms beam with natural light. Every room is unique and offers a slightly different charm thanks to the velvets, woods, ceramics and lighting used. Some rooms offer a view of the Château de Chambord, while others overlook the Cosson River, Place Saint-Louis or the forest.

Enjoy the daily buffet breakfast. The restaurant prepares modern French cuisine. You can also have lunch at the bar.

The hotel’s wellness area is open every day and has a hammam, sauna, outdoor jacuzzi, and tea room.

Day Two: Full Day Private Wine Tour of Clos Roussely, Caves Plou and Vouvray

a weekend getaway to the loire valley vineyards

With the Loire River, the north meets the south in this part of France. Wines in this region have both a freshness and roundness and are produced using both traditional and modern methods. Thanks to the mild climate and all of the different “terroirs,” there is a wonderful diversity of wines: 11 grape varieties and 50 appellations and PDO for 70,000 hectares of vineyards.

There is a large choice among the fruity and delicate rosés, reds ranging from easy-drinking to complex, and whites ranging from dry to sweet. Also, don’t miss the Crémants, wonderful sparkling wines produced in the same way as Champagne. Most Loire Valley wines use a single grape variety, making them ideal for food pairings.

The Loire Valley winemakers will be happy and proud to welcome you to share their passion. Your private guide will lead you through this unique day in the heart of outstanding landscapes or in spectacular troglodyte cellars.

Where to Stay in the Loire Valley
les sources de cheverny hotel

Les Sources de Cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, this striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm.

Soft light from tall, gothic windows creates a restful space. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby. The 26 rooms and 23 suites pair sumptuous fabrics with stripped wood paneling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building, beautiful lawns and gardens await exploration. The historic building offers rooms with a classic “château” feeling, whereas the cottages nearby are more modern.

As the sun starts to go down, enjoy a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and choose between the menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Spend a day relaxing by the pool or indulging at the Caudalie spa. Private trainers and yoga classes are available on request.

Take advantage of the Loire Valley’s central location in France and enjoy a weekend getaway. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.

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